To A-Rod, Yanks must be 'assertive'

To A-Rod, Yanks must be 'assertive'

MINNEAPOLIS -- Alex Rodriguez has an issue with the baseball vernacular.

The driving force behind the Yankees' 27th World Series title, Rodriguez has no plans to "defend" that championship. That isn't his style.

"People talk about defending," Rodriguez said. "I don't really like that term. When you defend, that is not how we got our championship last year. We earned it by attacking and being assertive -- not by trying to defend something."

And so Rodriguez plans to attack -- not defend -- this week against the Twins, a team he tormented to the tune of a .455 average, two home runs and six RBIs in last year's American League Division Series. By postseason's end, Rodriguez had scattered his much-publicized October demons, posting a .365 average with six homers, five doubles and 18 RBIs in 15 games.

Healthy for most of this season, unlike last year, Rodriguez hit .270 with 30 homers and a team-high 125 RBIs batting exclusively out of the cleanup spot. And much of that production came during September, when Rodriguez hit .309 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs, slugging an otherworldly .667.

"He had a great month of September last year, and he had a great month this year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "So I feel really good about Alex going into this playoffs."

In other words, cue the attack.

"To me, when you hear the word 'defend,' you are being defensive and not being proactive and attacking," Rodriguez said. "I think the way we attain No. 28 is doing things the way we did last year."